Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Group advocates for saving the name of Kelseyville

Citizens for Healing is an outlier group of Lake County residents who have filed an application to the federal Board on Geographic Names in Reston, Virginia. They are proposing to change the name of Kelseyville to “Konocti.”

The decision for their campaign is based on the egregious and horrendous behavior toward the Native Americans of this valley by Andrew Kelsey and his business partner, Charles Stone, who lived here from 1847 to 1849.

No one condones the reprehensible behavior of these men. Andrew Kelsey and Charles Stone were murdered by local Native Americans in 1849.

The history of the Native Americans who were the first stewards of this area 10,000 years ago is appreciated and respected. Their story is important to the history and culture of this region. This period in time is a painful part of the history of Kelseyville, and it is acknowledged.

Changing the name of Kelseyville will not change the past. This initiative divides the community rather than “heals” and the platform to discuss the past may disappear with the name. It is best to educate about the history instead of trying to erase it.

In 1854 new settlers, moving westward, came into this isolated valley. The new settlers were mainly farmers, but there were also merchants, blacksmiths, teachers and pastors. These were families who were coming from areas such as Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. They blended to make up the tapestry of this evolving town. They were the new face of this community and created an honorable town.

Kelseyville, formerly Uncle Sam, was officially renamed by the United States Post office in October 1882. It is believed that the community was named Kelseyville, not to honor Andrew Kelsey, but because, as often happened in the settling of new communities, he was the first man to build an adobe cabin in an unnamed area, on an unnamed creek.

Kelseyville is a diverse, rural town made up of different ethnicities. Throughout the last century, Kelseyville has thrived because of the residents who have worked diligently to make it a respected and inclusive town.

Kelseyville is situated at the base of the powerful and beautiful mountain, Mount Konocti. The Native Americans of this valley value it as sacred land; this sacred land belongs to the whole county of Lake.

Changing the name of Kelseyville to Konocti would create a sense of confusion and a burden to the historic school district in the community of Lower Lake that is called Konocti Unified School District.

There is great pride in the town of Kelseyville. The Kelseyville Business Association presents five major festivals a year: Bacon Fest; Dia de la Independencia, honoring the Kelseyville Hispanic families; the Kelseyville Pear Festival, honoring the agricultural heritage of Kelseyville; the Farm to Fork Dinner on Main Street, celebrating the food of Lake County; and Christmas in the Country, celebrating the joy of the season with the Light Parade.

The leaders of this town have worked tirelessly for the past 30 years building the brand of Kelseyville. This town draws thousands of visitors all year.

The community of Kelseyville is open to anyone who wishes a place at the table. It is a community who works hard to make Lake County a better place for everyone.

There will be no winners if the name is changed. It will be divisive, creating irreparable harm and financial hardship to the businesses, the school district, the fire department, the post office, the townspeople and Lake County government.

Kelseyville is rich in history and beauty. Let’s celebrate each other.

Save the Name of Kelseyville Committee includes Chair Marilyn Holdenried, Mark Borghesani, Jim Comisky, Helen Finch, Barbara Green, Debbi Holdenried, Patsy Huggins, Lois and Mike Jordan, Tammi Mandeville, Tammy Myers, Jamie Patten, Trena Moore Pauly, Kathy Prather and Vicki Totorica. For additional information go to “SaveKelseyville” Facebook page.

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